Last-click attribution is not a business strategy

Consumer shopping behaviours have become increasingly hard to track, let alone predict in the modern retail environment.

Consumers these days act like their own media companies, collating content and creating data across multiple touchpoints.

You may see a hotel offer for the first time on Instagram, share it with friends over Facebook, check out rival hotels on TripAdvisor and see it advertised in-browser, before finally making the hotel booking through display advertising.

Tracking this last-click booking may go some way towards satisfying the c-suite’s justification of marketing spend, but it is simply a measure of where the sale took place, and does not present the whole view of the customer’s booking process.

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Marketers need to account for the wider range of data touchpoints that every customer passes on their way to completing a purchase, and recognise that the customer booking journey is not linear.

Dreaming, planning and purchasing is a long and winding trail that can take in multiple touchpoints, and not all of them happen online.

It is impossible to know what your ROI or optimal marketing spend is without building a full-funnel plan, with attribution being measured at every individual stage of the customer journey.

Focusing solely on last-click attribution makes for a tunnel vision marketing strategy that misses this broader interplay of the customer booking journey, and does not allow marketers to allocate resources effectively.

A single witness to an event can tell you one version of the story, but it won’t give you the full picture. In order to get the whole story, you need to speak to every witness.

The same goes for multi-touch attribution and data. Multi-touch attribution and smart data collection is vital for marketers to get the full picture of their customers’ booking behavior.

The business advantage of operating a full-funnel solution not only provides attribution at each stage of the customer journey but also a strategic solution for brands to optimize media spend.

Knowing each channel’s place in the consumer booking journey allows marketers to efficiently allocate marketing budget and maximise impact.

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Achieving this deeper understanding of their consumers requires brand marketers to look outside of their own data assets and integrate external data sources, to gain an accurate and holistic picture of how their customers interact and choose to purchase one hotel or car model over another.

Using a data co-op to get the full story of customers’ booking journeys allows brands to measure, segment and target their online marketing efforts based on a deeper level of insight into their customers’ behaviour.

By securely and transparently pooling data from across businesses, data co-ops reveal cross-industry behaviors and trends that would otherwise be hidden in the silos of individual companies.

This data offers marketers a more complex understanding of consumers’ booking funnels and a truer reflection of real life drivers.

Brands can therefore, adopt a more holistic multi-touch approach to marketing, with budget being efficiently allocated along every stage of the booking journey.


Sourced by Brandon Meyers, chief revenue officer at ADARA

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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